Facebook Messenger users have suspected for years that the app was draining smartphone batteries, and now a lawsuit filed by a former company employee has added credence to that suspicion.
In an interview with The New York Times, the former date scientist Facebook’s George Hayward claimed the company directed him to do so, and when he refused to do so, he was fired from the company.
In his lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Hayward said he was fired from the company when he refused to comply with a practice known as “test negative”, which technology companies conduct to discover the limitations of users’ devices.
In the case of Facebook Messenger, the company led the test to see how much data users’ phones can handle, and due to this process, phones’ batteries run down.
Hayward said in his interview with the “New York Times”: “I said to the director: it could harm someone. His answer was: by harming some we can help a lot.” “Any data scientist who does their homework believes in not harming people,” she added.
But a spokesman for Facebook’s parent company Meta dismissed these allegations, saying only, “Mr. Hayward’s allegations are baseless.”
Hayward said he believed the company had already moved forward with a test negative, based on a document provided to him by his supervisor entitled “How to lead test informed negatives” which included what appeared to be real-life examples.
“I have never seen a more striking document in my career,” said Hayward.
Hayward’s attorney, Daniel Kaiser, told Futurism that the complaint is now making its way to internal arbitration at META.
However, Hayward remains adamant about his claims in the lawsuit, which included that the company could harm people who rely on Messenger”in circumstances in they need to communicate with others, including but not limited to the police or other first responders”.
Kaiser told the New York Post that he finds Facebook’s practice that Hayward claims is “infuriating” and “clearly illegal” and, depending on how far the case goes through Meta’s internal arbitration process, could eventually stop, or at least go out. details to reveal.
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